Imperial pint glasses declare European conformity

imperialPint-B1.jpg

Keg Works is selling purportedly authentic British Imperial Pint Glasses: exact replicas of the stout receptacles that might be smashed into your face after a long night of binge drinking by an infuriated punk in Camden Town. This, for the record, is called glassing, and it’s not fun. According to the site:

These are 100% authentic, imported from Europe, and feature the official European Union pint seal etched in the glass. The CE mark – which, in French, stands for ‘European Conformity’.

That there is an official committee to authenticate pint glass volume is an interesting glimpse into the Rube-Goldberg-esque workings of European bureaucracy, in and of itself.

The pint glass will cost you 7 bucks, which is probably worth it: there is a certain solid heft to a genuine pint glass that makes drinking a beer more pleasurable. Of course, 7 bucks is still 7 bucks more than stealing one from your local would cost you… the preferred method of stocking your cupboards in Albion.

Authentic British Style Imperial Pint Glass with Etched Seal [Kegworks]

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48 Responses to Imperial pint glasses declare European conformity

  1. Enoch_Root says:

    http://www.thepubshoppe.com/pintglasses.html

    That might have the old crown… but its hard to say

  2. Kevtastic says:

    I wish the pint was more well-regulated here in the states. Some pubs — particularly in the Pacific Northwest — are starting to use cheater, shaker-style “pint” glasses that only hold 14 oz of liquid to the rim, 13 oz if there’s any head. And you’re talking 12 or less on a short pour — all for the price of a 16-oz pint (which they’re calling a pint and not disclosing the missing ounces). That’s a pretty massive 25% shorting of suds, for those not keeping track at home.

    As craft beer has gone gourmet, the price of a pint has gone up to begin with — then add the fact that hops shortages have driven up beer costs and consumer prices even more.

    I’d love to have the luxury of arguing over whether my pint should be 16 oz or an imperial 20. And I’d certainly love a Rube-Goldberg-esque official committee to define what makes a pint to begin with …

  3. annafdd says:

    26:

    While bitching about the horrible Europeans and their foolish laws, it would probably be a good thing to start using proper English grammar:

    “Whilst meanwhile, how many of the French have decided to move to London and it’s environs because of the economic opportunity?”

    It’s “its environs”. That is, “its”, pronoun, replaces “London’s environs”.

    “Although, I’ve never had the opportunity to live in France, I am sure it would also be rewarding in many ways, but not because of some of the rather idiotic little laws and regulations that the EU forces it’s citizens to live by.”

    It’s “its citizens”.

    Sorry, but we all have our pet hates, and seeing “it’s” (contraction of “it is”) used instead of “its” (pronoun) makes me want to climb the walls in frustration.

    Anna, proudly European, living on London, Great Britain, last I checked part of Europe, and yes, greatly annoyed and offended every day by the Mail and its kind.

  4. Fran Taylor says:

    I’ve seen German half-liter beer glasses with that same little CE mark in the store for a lot less than $7. I think perhaps the Germans are also quite capable of determining the volume of a beer glass to the required degree of precision.

    With all of the terrible things happening in the world, it’s good to know that people take great care to ensure the accuracy of the markings on their beer glasses.

    Wine drinkers are apparently not so obsessed with an accurate pour; you don’t hear about drives to standardize the size of wine glasses.

  5. Enochrewt says:

    @Enoch Root: Nope, I’ve used the “rewt” for years because many places/systems (read:*nix)don’t let you use anything related to root in a user name for fear of accidentally being mistaken as an admin. Thanks for your concern though…

    @ACB: Even though I dislike all those beers listed, they’re not even close to the evilness that is Coors in a can. The only time it’s good is at the Brewery less than 30 minutes after it’s made, and ANY beer is good then.

  6. WaveyDave says:

    #22 Fnarf is so correct.
    As a Black Country boy who moved south I can testify to the fact. Our pint glasses were oversized (i.e. “pint to line” and a pint being 568 ml ). Banks’s have used oversize glasses and electronic pumps for at least 20 years to ensure that you get a full pint every time and allow plenty of space for a big frothy head on your cold pint of mild. It was also fairly weak at 3.2% Down here in the south of England the bog standard bitter tended to be stronger and served warmer and flatter. I always thought it reflected the differences in industry and work – the Midlands was an area of heavy industry. After a heavy day at the foundry, a couple of cold pints of mild and a bag of pork scratchings was just the job.

    Sadly over the last decade or so many of the regional differences have been smoothed out. Lots of the medium sized breweries have consolidated.

    Back on message £3.50 for a pint glass – that’s way overpriced. I can get 4 for a £1 at my local supermarket, and you can get them for free at the pub as long as you are happy with a Fosters logo on your glass.

  7. bazzargh says:

    I notice those are pint-to-rim glasses, btw, generally frowned on by real ale drinkers – its pretty much a guarantee that you’re not getting a full pint. CAMRA have been campaigning for a long time for pint-to-line glasses instead, and that is what you get in ‘decent’ pubs.

    And with any luck the punk will be carrying a polycarbonate ‘glass’ these days – round our way the pubs that mainly serve yoofs use those to cut down on the glassings (and having been glassed myself, I wholeheartedly approve)

  8. smonkey says:

    so my confusion is why if metric is the law
    why do the french set the rules for the pint?

    wouldn’t it be the tri-decalitre?

  9. Donal says:

    Wow. how to add to some the euro bigotry. I’m with Luc and #25.
    #29. You ever heard of a country called Ireland? Where btw way, we just call it a pint (and drop the imperial) and if anyone is laughing…it’s us at the idea of spending $7 for a pint glass…even with a weak dollar.
    As for ABC & John…that Euro-committee for regulating pint glasses belongs to the same range of myths that say the EU tried to regulate bananas so they are straight or that classified a snail as “land-based” fish. All nonsense and all derived from the british tabloids, especially the Mail.

    Both Ireland and the Uk always had a department regulating weights & measures to protect consumers AND government tax/revenue, which used in Ireland at least to be part of Customs & Excies. My dad had a small shop in the 70s/80s and once a year we used to have to take any free-standing weights we used to a local office for verification.(e.g. for potatoes, too dirty for expensive digital scales back then)

  10. Matthew Walton says:

    #32: I believe the pint is now defined in millilitres, so it is actually a metric unit of measure… theoretically, anyway.

    #30: Actually, wine glasses in British pubs are also of defined sizes and come stamped with the crown and a line and a number which tells you how many millilitres it is if you fill it to the line. This is also to ensure that pubs serve you what you think you’re paying for (assuming you’re not completely delusional, that is). Some restaurants do the same thing, but others have rather finer unstamped glasses – of course, classy restaurants tend to serve wine by the bottle, so the size of an individual glass becomes pretty irrelevant.

  11. Bugs says:

    You can learn everything important about British drinking culture from the fact that over here “glass” and “bottle” are verbs.

    The idea of a standardised pint glass is nothing new. Selling alcohol in accurate quantities has always been a part of the weights and measures act, which dates back something like 200 years (although has been regularly updated, of course). For much of that time, pint glasses have been standardised within the UK and borne an official seal (I think it’s some sort of royal crest, but I’ve never looked it up) to denote that.

    That’s why very cheap pint glasses sold on the high street are marked as “beer glasses” or similar; selling them as “pint glasses” without very tight quality control is getting into dodgy ground.

    So the standardisation is nothing new. As all weights and measures are being standardised (“harmonised”) across Europe it’s hardly surprising that they’ve provided their own specifications.

  12. Rob Beschizza says:

    The problem with pint-to-line glasses is drinkers complaining that they’re not getting a full pint if the head isn’t practically sloshing over the sides.

    Former bartender’s perspective, yes.

  13. Fnarf says:

    Waveydave @31 — There is no greater catastrophe in the world of beer than the disappearance of mild. There are still a few, and I make a point of ordering one whenever I have an opportunity — which is sadly only every three years or so. Londoners don’t even know what it is. Cain’s still makes a nice one, and Newkie Broun is ALMOST mild.

  14. MT_Head says:

    #2 – “It’s not the punks you have to worry about in Camden Town nowadays; it’s the Crack dealers with their knives and guns that loiter on every corner.

    (Yes, NIMBYism is alive and well in North London.)”

    Well, call me a snob if you will, but I don’t want crack dealers in my back yard either! I’m pretty sure that NIMBYism only applies if it’s something widely acknowledged to be necessary (such as a sewage treatment plant), but which you simply don’t want near your house (although moving it to some other neighborhood would be fine with you.)

    I’d be interested to hear someone defend the thesis that crack dealers are necessary.

  15. dculberson says:

    Man, referring to a government’s workings as “Rube-Goldberg-esque” has to be about the most mild “bigotry” I’ve ever heard. Grow a pair, and some skin, folks. Criticism is not the same as prejudice.

  16. MT_Head says:

    #42 – I also wish that pints were regulated here in the States. In general, however, there really aren’t any (enforced) standards for bar quantities of any kind. Even shots, jiggers, etc. are “accepted” standards only, with no force of law – when’s the last time you heard of a bar being fined for selling watered drinks? (Except in South Carolina, where until 2005 state law mandated that all drinks be mixed from airline-style miniature bottles.)

    I suspect (not sure, though – the only work I’ve ever done in a bar was with my elbow) that the difference between US law and European is that here, the bar owner pays the last whack of tax on alcohol when he buys it from the wholesaler; in Europe the tax is collected on the sale to the customer – hence the requirement to measure what the customer gets and pays for.

    If my understanding is incorrect, I’m game to hear about it.

  17. PresumingEd says:

    Donal at # 33 and the others who think Eurocracy is a myth. Is the New York Times/International Herald Tribune an anti-EU propaganda paper like the Mail? –

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/11/12/europe/food.php

    Here is a partial extract. Now tell us how people critical of the EU exaggerate the silliness:

    But the decision to scale back on standards will be welcomed by euro-skeptics who have long pilloried the EU executive’s interest in intrusive regulation.

    One such controversy revolved around the correct degree of bend in bananas – a type of fruit not covered by the Wednesday ruling.

    In fact, there is no practical regulation on the issue. Commission Regulation (EC) 2257/94 says that bananas must be “free from malformation or abnormal curvature,” though Class 1 bananas can have “slight defects of shape” and Class 2 bananas can have full “defects of shape.”

    By contrast, the curvature of cucumbers has been a preoccupation of European officials. Commission Regulation (EEC) No 1677/88 states that Class I and “Extra class” cucumbers are allowed a bend of 10 millimeters per 10 centimeters of length. Class II cucumbers can bend twice as much.

    It also says cucumbers must be fresh in appearance, firm, clean and practically free of any visible foreign matter or pests, free of bitter taste and of any foreign smell.

    Such restrictions will disappear next year, and about 100 pages of rules and regulations will go as well, a move welcomed by Neil Parish, chairman of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee.

  18. mralistair says:

    -32 it’s not the french that define a pint. it’s just that the CE mark (found on just about every product) was done in french
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CE_mark

  19. soubriquet says:

    Pint to line or pint to rim?
    Real beer is sold from hand pumps. It’s a living thing, a bio-culture. So it foams, and leaves a head. A good bar-person pours it well, lets it settle, then tops it. The foamy bit, the head, is mostly air. I can get all the air I want for free. So, with justification, when I ask for a pint of beer, I don’t expect to pay for 80% beer and 20% air.

    Any businessman knows that selling short measures of anything is fraud. It’s not Rube Goldbergism to appreciate a standard measure, verified by a compliance mark on the glass.

    As a northerner and a Yorkshireman, I would like to say to Fnarf that we still have some rather nice pints of mild around here. Timothy Taylors Golden Best pale mild, and the same brewery’s Ram Tam dark mild, mmmmm…

  20. Fnarf says:

    Americans might be surprised at the length and vehemence of British pint glass arguments, particularly if you get some Scotsmen into the discussion. Generally speaking, the further north you go, the more foam head they like on their pint, which means the more short-changed you are in a pint-to-rim glass. These glasses obviously come from London (or someplace like Slovakia, more likely).

  21. mrfitz says:

    Before 1042, Britons considered the depth of a container of ale insufficient unless the king’s royal member could not touch the bottom. When Edward came back from Normandy, this screwed everything up, as his was relatively small as compared to Harthacanute. Things only got worse in 1066 when Harold took over and eventually the Normans had to step in and show everyone who had the largest. The people had to agree, as their bellies were full only after three flagons.

  22. pooklord says:

    Looks like you hurt Luc’s feelings, John

    Luc: Anyone who has experienced the combination of arrogance and idiocy that defines the edicts that come from Brussels know that it’s neither “projecting” nor “prejudice”.

    And “Goldbergesque” is too kind.

  23. Anonymous says:

    #4 You can keep your new-fangled, steam powered “Imperial,” pint. We’ll stick with our tried and tested pint, 1/8 of Queen Anne’s Wine Gallon, thank you very much.

  24. Luc says:

    #24, there we go again. There’s often a strong anti-European, populist slant in some of the UK media and it rubs me the wrong way. Every mention of ‘Brussels’ is immediately turned into a caricature, and of course it’s an ideal situation for your politicians and media to exploit. It reminds me of the way the French were regarded before cheap travel and cheap housing made hundreds of thousands of Brits decide it wasn’t so bad after all – and move there.

  25. Squiggle says:

    I spent a couple of summers during university working at a Trading Standards warehouse in Yorkshire where I stamped the queen’s crown on glasses in all sorts of weird and wonderful measurements.

    FWIW, many people (and even some landlords) still have a hard time understanding that serving an unmeasured pint in an unstamped glass is illegal in the UK. As such, I’m a big proponent of the pint-to-line glasses.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Brownlee, I’m calling you out on your “I’m European” defense . . . assuming you are from the UK (and I could be wrong) . . . that is a red herring.

    There is no place in the world that has the anti-European Community fear/prejudice that the UK does, for the reason stated by Donal @ 33 above:

    “All nonsense and all derived from the british tabloids, especially the Mail.”

    Propaganda. occasionally it seeps into the less reputable tabloids over here in the states, e.g. the NY Post.

  27. Luc says:

    #3, John, there’s no ‘official committee to authenticate pint glass volumes’, it’s a straightforward pan-European customer protection measure. This is not ‘an interesting glimpse into the Rube-Goldberg-esque workings of European bureaucracy’, it’s instead a rather sensible measure that was previously British law anyway.

  28. Forlain says:

    #36 is absolutely right, it’s simply stands for European Community (in french, one of the official languages) and is merely a sign for product safety. And the producer has to make sure it does himself. No committee involved, I’m afraid. So could someone update the headline to something like “Imperial pint glass declares to be safe to use, expensive”?

  29. pooklord says:

    #25

    Whilst meanwhile, how many of the French have decided to move to London and it’s environs because of the economic opportunity?

    I’ve spent several years living on the continent (Baden-Wuertemburg) and enjoyed my time there immensely.

    Although, I’ve never had the opportunity to live in France, I am sure it would also be rewarding in many ways, but not because of some of the rather idiotic little laws and regulations that the EU forces it’s citizens to live by.

    That said, this particular law regarding pint glass volume may well protect consumers, and perhaps isn’t a bad regulation, at least not in that respect.

    Additionally, I regret the sarcasm directed at your earlier post, although you may also have been overstating your case.

    And on that note, I think it’s time for a real pint–cheers, Luc!

  30. MITTZNZ says:

    That there is an official committee to authenticate pint glass volume is an interesting glimpse into the Rube-Goldberg-esque workings of European bureaucracy, in and of itself.

    That such cultural importance has been given to beer is a sign of hope for western civilization.

    However, a 7 dollar pint glass in someone’s home is the scarlet letter of a sucker.

  31. Not a Doktor says:

    I feel so crude, next weekend we’re going to play edward 40 hands

    that’s where you duct-tape 2 40 oz bottles of malt to your hands

    it never ends well

  32. Luc says:

    That there is an official committee to authenticate pint glass volume is an interesting glimpse into the Rube-Goldberg-esque workings of European bureaucracy, in and of itself.

    Wow, projecting our prejudices a bit, are we?

  33. Girl With A One Track Mind says:

    It’s not the punks you have to worry about in Camden Town nowadays; it’s the Crack dealers with their knives and guns that loiter on every corner.

    (Yes, NIMBYism is alive and well in North London.)

    With beer in London now costing over £4/$8 a pint – which is more expensive than most narcotics http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=120654&in_page_id=34 – the cost of that authentic pint glass seems almost VFM for us Londoners. Can’t vouch for its “glassing” quality though…

  34. stumo says:

    Meh. CE? Give me one with a crown any day.

    The second image on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pint_glass shows the crown rather well.

    Most places (apart from CAMRA beer festivals) are pint to rim, but if a barman’s been stingy[1] you can always ask for a top up, and I’ve never had a barman object.

    I’m looking forward to the Cambridge Beer Festival in a few weeks time – 170 ales, 150 ciders and 60 foreign beers. Shame there’s only a week to try them all in.

    [1] mean, tight, not-generous – not sure if this is a UK only word

  35. Enochrewt says:

    @Stumo: Stingy is pretty universal, just so you know. Interestingly enough here in America we would ask for a top off, not a top up ;) Or at least everyone I know would.

    Also, here in America you’ll never get a full, true pint. These might be more marketable as an export than in their country of origin. But then again most Americans drink CuursFromaCan. bleh.

  36. John Brownlee says:

    Luc: yes… outrageously prejudiced against my own continent and citizenship.

  37. Anonymous says:

    At least it’s a real Imperial pint, not one of those tiny fake American ones…

  38. Anonymous says:

    Hahaha, buying glasses, that’s almost as absurd an idea as buying ashtrays.

  39. acb says:

    Besides which, the English pint is only used in Britain (in Europe, at least). In France, they drink beer in (IIRC) 500ml measures (Europints?). In Italy and Spain, a regular glass of beer is 200ml and a large one is 400ml.

  40. Hank says:

    In all seriousness, I think it stems from people complaining that their local was serving short pints. In response, government intervened and now a pint glass really holds a pint.

  41. acb says:

    @Enochrewt: Mind you, most Britons drink Stella, Carling or Fosters, rather than fine ales. I suspect that cheap lager is a worldwide universal.

    Btw, what is the definition of an American pint? It seems slightly smaller than the 568ml of the British one.

  42. hex nut says:

    One U.S. pint is about 473.176ml

  43. GMH says:

    £4 a pint ?!

    It is one of the more pleasing ironies of London that decent beer in friendly pubs is often cheaper than mass-produced crud served in skanky mosh pits.

    In somewhere like the Wenlock Arms, N1 (look it up), you can get a couple of pints of fresh, well-kept and satisfying real beer for a fiver or thereabouts.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Don’t you dare put any non-English or non-ale swill in there, either! Please use it to enjoy some Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale. These are for ale, the short pineapple/grenade looking ones are for bitter.

  45. markmarkmark says:

    As a university student, the idea of paying 7$ for a pint glass that doesn’t even have a pint of beer in it is pretty crazy, especially considering that taking pint glasses from pubs that treat me poorly as a form of reverse tipping keeps my cupboards full of randomly branded glasses.

  46. Agies says:

    @ACB: It’s 473ml (roughly). Shame bad beer is a universal constant, still Stella is far from the worst.

  47. Enoch_Root says:

    @#10 I am completely with you. As a Brit-phile from the states I love the Imperial Pint and the crown on the glass. There is certainly something a little more regal in the British Crown than French conformity stamped on the side of my beer.

    PS: Hi Rewt… I hope I didn’t take your name

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